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SWHPN Virtual Summit: New and Emerging Practices in Response to COVID
Friday, April 16, 2021, 12:00 PM - 4:30 PM EDT
Category: Conference

Join us for our next half-day virtual conference of 2021, featuring the leading research, innovative practices, educational strategies, policy initiatives, and case narratives from leaders in the field of hospice and palliative care. 

Registration for the SWHPN Virtual Summit includes:

  • 3 Continuing Education (CE) hours for social workers
  • Live Q&As with the presenters
  • An opportunity for social workers to connect with peers at our Virtual Social Hour
  • Recordings and slides from all sessions and presentations (where applicable)

The April 16, 2021 SWHPN Virtual Summit will focus on New and Emerging Practices in Response to COVID

Keynote: Honoring Those We Have Lost: A Collaboration for Healing with Palliative Care and Spiritual Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Leah Rosen, MSW, LCSW; Monica Young, D.Min., M.Div.; and Dr. Christine Khandelwal will present a case demonstrating the collaboration between a private, palliative care practice and the Spiritual Care Department within a large hospital system-specifically, a virtual memorial service honoring patients who died over the past year, including those from COVID-19.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Discuss and identify unique ways for hospital based palliative care to partner with spiritual care in large hospital systems
  2. Define and discuss disenfranchised grief and its application to the current pandemic
  3. Offer a model to bring together the components of palliative care and spiritual care in a ritual/ceremony that can provide healing for those left behind through acknowledgement of loss.

About the Presenters:

Leah Rosen, MSW, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received her MSW at Columbia University. She completed her post graduate training at Smith College/Baystate Medical in the field of Palliative Care and End of Life Studies in 2015. After earning her MSW degree, she practiced social work for 10+ years at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, focusing on the fields of acute care, pediatrics, rehabilitation, and palliative care. Leah relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina in 2015 and has continued her work in palliative care and hospice medicine, where she is currently on a private inpatient palliative care team. Leah has a particular interest in supporting families who are making difficult decisions in the ICU setting.



Monica B. Young, D.Min., M.Div. is the Advance Care Planning Program Coordinator for WakeMed Health and Hospitals. She completed her undergraduate at NC A & T State University, post graduate training at Fort Valley State University with a Master of Education degree. While her husband was deployed during his military career, she felt her calling to attend seminary where she received a Doctorate in Ministry and Master of Divinity. She continued working retail management positions from 2007-2014 until she felt a strong inclination to do Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). She was hired as a Chaplain Resident as she and her husband Rick decided to relocate to North Carolina after he retired from the military. She has provided spiritual care in the clinical setting as a Chaplain for the last 8 years. Most recently, she has partnered with Transitions Palliative Care in a collaborative endeavor to offer spiritual care and support to patients with chronic illnesses and who are facing end-of-life decisions.

Dr. Christine Khandelwal is a Palliative and Hospice physician, currently Director of Palliative Care Inpatient Service at WakeMed Health & Hospitals. She has a particular interest in ethical decision-making processes among surrogate decision makers for patients. She has clinical expertise in the care of patients with dementia, including providing caregiver support and education about advance care planning.




Breakout Sessions I

Session 1A: Designing, Implementing and Evaluating Essential Supports for those Suffering in the Pandemic

Kathie Supiano, PhD, LCSW, F-GSA, FT, APHSW-C and Emily Donaldson, CSW

Using funding from the CARES Act through the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, we developed, implemented, and are evaluating an evidence-based, trauma-informed, comprehensive model of clinician-facilitate group support to address:

  1. Those bereaved by COVID-19 including but not limited to those who lost a family member or friend to COVID-19 or who have sustained a COVID-affected death (e.g., a family member or friend died during the pandemic and the griever is impacted by being unable to visit in hospital/care facility, travel to ill family member, have usual comforts of funeral/memorial/family gathering or death/grief otherwise affected by pandemic)

  2. Those recovering from COVID-19 who require additional psychological/emotional support during and following their illness. We will describe our community engagement procedures, present the curriculum and provide implementation and evaluation strategies.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Apply an 8-session grief group support model adapted for the unique features of the grief of COVID-19 deaths and COVID-affected deaths.
  2. Engage in the current evidence about mental health sequelae identified in COVID-19 Long-haulers and it's known biological basis.
  3. Articulate and apply a 12-session COVID-recovery model that addresses the mental health, family and social impacts of post-Covid syndromes.

About the Presenters:

Kathie Supiano, PhD, LCSW, F-GSA, FT, APHSW-C is an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing, and the director of Caring Connections: A Hope and Comfort in Grief Program at the University of Utah College of Nursing. She teaches Interdisciplinary Approaches to Palliative Care for graduate students in Pharmacy, Social Work and Nursing, and Geriatric Care Management. Dr. Supiano's research is in clinical interventions in complicated grief, prevention of adverse grief outcomes, suicide survivorship, overdose grief and prison hospice. She has been a practicing clinical social worker and psychotherapist for over 35 years. Her clinical practice has included care of older adults with depression and multiple chronic health concerns, end-of-life care, and bereavement care. Dr. Supiano is a Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America, and a Fellow of Thanatology. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network, the Board of Directors of Advanced Palliative Hospice Social Worker Certification Board, and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care. She received her PhD in Social Work at the University of Utah as a John A. Hartford Foundation Doctoral Fellow.

Emily Donaldson, MSW, CSW is the Program Administrator of Caring Connections: A Hope and Comfort in Grief Program at the University of Utah College of Nursing. Ms. Donaldson has developed the recruitment, enrollment and evaluation procedures of implementing the Covid-19 Grief support and the Covid-19 recovery support groups and materials.

Session 1B: A Pandemic of Loneliness: Virtually Supporting the Disenfranchised & Bereaved
Esther Ammon, LCSW, APHSW-C; Lucia Hollowell, MSW, APHSW-C; and Sarah Lapenta-H, MDiv

Ensuring the bereaved have access to the support they need is now more important than ever. Providing bereavement support in the virtual environment has both advantages and disadvantages. This presentation will analyze potentials and pitfalls using technology to facilitate a bereavement support group during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Analyze potentials and pitfalls of using technology to facilitate a bereavement support group during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Explore ways in which a virtual grief group can aid adaptation to loss despite the inability to physically commune or utilize many of our normal coping mechanisms. 
  3. Examine unique themes that have arisen from group participants.
  4. Identify best practices to mitigate bereavement risk factors during this unparalleled time.

About the Presenters:

Esther Ammon, LCSW, APHSW-C Is an experienced clinician in healthcare services with demonstrated leadership working with patients with serious illness and their families in critical care, oncology and palliative care settings. Highly skilled palliative and end of life care leader with post grad, advanced certifications and Fellowship completion. Master in social work from New York University, grief/loss/bereavement expert, providing clinical supervision to practicum students, frequently presenting at the national level on serious illness and PELC concepts.

Lucia Hollowell, MSW, APHSW-C is an experienced hospice and palliative care clinician working with patients with serious illness and their families in palliative care and hospice settings. Highly skilled palliative and end of life care clinician with advanced certification.

Session 1C: Facilitating Virtual Bereavement Support Groups during COVID-19 Pandemic
Katy Matarese, LCSW and Katelyn Ciarelli, LCSW, APHSW-C

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the healthcare world, and especially the professional lives of hospice and palliative care social workers. Our organization saw an increased need for bereavement support from palliative care, as many family members had complicated and sudden grief that required specialized care. We developed two groups: the first directed towards COVID-19 specific deaths, and the second for those that died of other causes, but in the COVID-19 time frame where quarantine and isolation during death was the norm.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Share our model for grief groups in response to COVID-19 pandemic: attendees will learn our process for starting this group and decision making process for splitting the groups into two categories: COVID-19 deaths and death in the time of COVID. 
  2. Specific strategies, tools, and course content for two groups during the pandemic and discuss outcomes of the group.
  3. Explore what we have learned as clinicians doing grief work in COVID-19 pandemic and encourage self-care.

About the Presenters:

Katelyn Ciarelli, LCSW, APHSW-C is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Advanced Palliative Care and Hospice Certified. Katelyn graduated from Rutgers University with a Masters in Social Work, with a concentration in aging. While at Rutgers, Katelyn was chosen as a Fellow in Aging, one of five students chosen university-wide. Katelyn currently works as an LCSW for Hackensack Meridian Health, within the specialty of Palliative Care. Katelyn has extensive experience working in Oncology, Young Onset Alzheimer's, and Advanced Dementia. Katelyn presented in the October SWHPN Virtual Summits on Intimacy and Chronic Illness, and continues to educate on palliative care.

Katy Matarese is a licensed Social Worker who was born and raised in New Jersey. She graduated Cum Laude from Kean University. Continuing her education, she was accepted into Fordham University Advanced Standing Program and received her Masters Degree. Her career began at Bayonne Visiting Nurse Association and continued to the Ronald McDonald House of Central New Jersey. She then transitioned to Hackensack Meridian Palliative Care inpatient where it continues today. Katy recently received her Advanced Palliative Care and Hospice Certification from SWHPN. During her free time, Katy enjoys her time with her two children, husband, and puppies.

Breakout Sessions II

Session 2A: COVID-19 Family Support Team: Providing Person and Family Centered Care During the Pandemic
Christa Burke, MSW, LCSW, ACHP-SW, APHSW-C; Stephanie Hampel, MSW, LCSW

As COVID-19 admissions increased and ICU beds began to fill in late March of 2020, the psychosocial staff of an inpatient palliative care developed a Family Support Team (FST) to provide an extra layer of support for family members and loved ones of seriously ill COVID-19 patients. Through comprehensive psychosocial support, resource referral, family connection strategies, and bereavement care, the FST aimed to guide family members and loved ones of COVID-19 positive patients through challenges and address their stress, anxiety and grief.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Attendees will learn about how one palliative care programs psychosocial staff provided person and family centered support for family members and loved ones of seriously ill COVID-19 patients. 
  2. Attendees will learn strategies and gain tools to foster connection for patients and families during a pandemic. 
  3. Attendees will be able to discuss the importance of self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Presenters:

Christa Burke, MSW, LCSW, ACHP-SW, APHSW-C has a Masters degree in Social Welfare (MSW) from UCLA and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has advanced certification in hospice and palliative care social work. She has a broad background in social work but began medical social work as a Pediatric Oncology Social Worker in 2005. She transitioned to adult palliative care in 2013. Christa is currently a Palliative Care Social Worker with the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Palliative Care program in St Louis, MO. Christa serves as the Social Work Consultant for the Missouri Hospice and Palliative Care Association (MHCPA) and is a member of NASW, SWHPN (Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network) and the St Louis Social Work Leaders in Healthcare organization. Christa is passionate about helping patients and their families cope with serious illness and encouraging meaningful discussions about the experiences and values that give meaning to a person's life. She currently works on a dynamic interdisciplinary team in both an inpatient and outpatient setting focusing on the needs of the whole person. She enjoys teaching social work students, medical students, residents and fellows in addition to her direct patient care. She has published an article about her Palliative Care MSW Practicum Curriculum designed to educate future social work leaders in Palliative Care.

Stephanie Hampel, MSW, LCSW has a Masters degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Denver and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In addition to palliative care, she has served pediatric and adult oncology populations. She also received training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) from the University of Denver. Stephanie is currently a Palliative Care Social Worker with the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Palliative Care program in St Louis, MO and member of SWHPN and the St Louis Social Work Leaders in Healthcare organization. She is passionate about integrating mindfulness based interventions into clinical work with patients, caregivers, and clinicians in addition to direct patient care.

Session 2B: Palliative Care Social Work in Times of Crisis
Diane Weg Farquhar, LCSW; Ayla Pelleg, MD; and Keisha Berglund, LCSW

This presentation will describe social work innovations, providing training to social workers on primary palliative care skills, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic at Mount Sinai Hospital (MSH) in New York City in order to expand access to palliative care.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand how primary palliative care social work skills can expand the workforce in times of crisis.
  2. Instill confidence and competence in social workers to use their unique skills to assess primary palliative care needs.
  3. Present how to acquire rapid primary palliative care skills and have accelerated advanced care planning discussions.

About the Presenters:

Diane Weg Farquhar, LCSW, ACSW is a Clinical Social Worker with The Lilian and Benjamin Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, New York. In her role, Ms. Farquhar serves as Social Worker in several hospital settings, including the Palliative Care Consult Service, the Wiener Family Palliative Care Unit, and the Palliative Care Outpatient Clinic located in the Martha Stewart Center for Living. Ms. Farquhar has worked in a variety of in-patient and community based settings. Before coming to Mount Sinai, Ms. Farquhar previous clinical work included oncology social work, Program Director of ALS of Michigan, and school based and group work supervisor in Montreal, Quebec. Ms. Farquhar received her Bachelor of Arts with a major in Social Work from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ayla Pelleg, MD (Assistant Professor; Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai), New York is currently a clinical educator and practicing geriatrician and palliative care physician at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai where she provides inpatient hospital care to medically complex patients. Dr. Pelleg completed her fellowship in Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she also served as a chief fellow. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine Primary Care at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County (formerly Cook County Hospital) and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Dr. Pelleg earned her Doctorate in Medicine and Bachelor of Science (Public Health) Degrees from The George Washington University. Dr. Pellegs career interests include medical student and resident education in Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, specifically in communication skills, transitions of care, and pain management.

Session 2C: Experiences of Loss and Grief Among Social Workers During COVID-19: A Phenomenological Study

Jennifer Currin-McCulloch, PhD, LMSW; Shivani Kaushik, MSSW, RSW; and Barbara Jones, PhD

This presentation reveals findings and clinical implications from a groundbreaking study capturing the essence of palliative care social workers' professional and personal experiences in adapting to the grief and losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Portray palliative care social workers professional and personal role adaptations resulting from the losses associated with COVID-19
  2. To highlight the internal and external resources social workers engage to carry out their ever-evolving responsibilities during a pandemic
  3. To identify micro, macro, and mezzo implications and potential ways to enhance palliative care social workers roles inside and out of their work settings. 

About the Presenters:

Jennifer Currin-McCulloch, PhD, LMSW, is an Assistant Professor at Colorado State University School of Social Work. She has an extensive background working as an oncology and palliative care social worker. Her research and passion centers on psychosocial adaptations to advanced cancer.

Shivani Kaushik, MSSW, RSW, is a doctoral student in the School of Social Work at Colorado State University. She has expertise and an extensive background in end-of-life care and bereavement support. Her current research is dedicated to exploring existential quality of life and end-of-life interventions within correctional facilities.

Date: Friday, April 16, 2021

Time: 12:00 - 4:30 p.m. EDT / 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. PDT

Target Audience: All levels

Cost to attend: $79 for current SWHPN Members / $99 for Nonmembers / free for current SWHPN, Friend of SWHPN and Retiree Members

** SWHPN Members: attend this Summit for only $49 when you register for all eight Summits being held in 2021! See the full 2021 SWHPN Summits Schedule at www.swhpnsummit.org.



To earn CE credit, social workers must log in, attend the entire summit and complete an online course assessment and evaluation.

Certificates of completion will be emailed immediately following the completion of a webinar evaluation. Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network aka SWHPN, #1716, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network aka SWHPN maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 7/18/2020 – 7/18/2023. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in a summit can receive 3 continuing education clock hours.

Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0503.

Contact: [email protected]